Friday, October 17, 2008

Dumb TV
Game shows with teams of people competing against each other individually:
“Survivor” is not a dumb show. But it does rely on people doing two fundamentally dumb things to keep the plot moving. If neither of those two dumb things happened, there would be no show.

First, it counts on people to forget that other people also are attempting to win. This is how you get alliances that make no sense, decisions to “trust” that someone else will put your interests above his own, and the repeated exposure of soft underbellies. Second, it counts on its contestants to take everything far too much to heart, personalizing what should be no more emotional than a long poker game.

But it needs all this stupidity. Without regular freak-outs about betrayal and loyalty, “Survivor” would just be a lot of people walking around in dirty bathing suits and periodically running through obstacle courses.
I saw part of the first series and went off it when they gave the prize to the most popular (hot? I don’t remember) contestant not the ex-US Navy Seal who actually could survive on a desert island. Stopped watching the genre when ‘The Apprentice’ stopped being educational about business.

I do watch doctor shows knowing jolly well they’re soap operas for people who don’t think they watch those (‘House’ is different: he’s a grouchy Goren/Columbo/Holmes solving the mystery of the week):
Do not let these doctors care for you. They will let you bleed out while arguing or flirting. The way they conduct their personal lives suggests that, if one of them accidentally put her head up the sleeve of her shirt, she could not find her way out and would have to wear it around for all eternity, asking for help and then bumping into the furniture. Cheating on your spouse? Great idea! Casual affairs with people you work with? Why not! Restarting your failed relationship for the seventh time on the theory that this time will be different? Of course!
From Michael Lawrence.

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